Kentucky stays on four-week elevated plateau of new coronavirus cases, but hits a new high for an official Mon.-Sun. reporting week

Kentucky Health News chart based on state data; for a larger version, click on it.

By Melissa Patrick
Kentucky Health News
While Kentucky remains on a rough, elevated plateau of new coronavirus cases, Sunday’s addition of 467 cases pushed the state into a new high for a Monday-to-Sunday reporting week — 4,450 cases reported Aug. 17-23.
The new seven-day rolling average of 636 is the eighth highest of the pandemic, and more than triple what it was two months ago.
“We remain in a plateau with our number of new cases, which is positive, but we have to see those numbers steadily decline,” Gov. Andy Beshear said in a news release. “All of your sacrifices are working, and we must all continue to be patient and do our part to drive those numbers down.”
The new weekly high is 117 more cases than the 4,333 reported last week.
As some school districts and day-care centers push back against Beshear’s recommendations around reopening dates and capacity limits, he has taken to reporting the daily number of children newly infected by the virus. Today, he said 79 of the newly reported cases were from people 18 and younger, of which 15 were five or under. The youngest was 3 days old.
“We are seeing a steady number of coronavirus cases among the young in Kentucky, and make no mistake: Youth is not a guarantee of a good outcome against this virus,” he said.
As usual, Sunday’s report did not include some data, including the share of Kentuckians testing positive for the virus in the last seven days. Saturday, it fell below the key level of 5 percent for the first time in 30 days.
Beshear reported nine more deaths from covid-19, raising the state’s toll to 881. Two small, rural counties each had two covid-19 deaths. Green County lost two residents, a 90-year-old woman and a 91-year-old man; and Lewis County lost two men, 73 and 78.
The other fatalities were a 63-year-old man from Johnson County; a 63-year-old man from Shelby County; a 72-year-old man from Knox County; a 77-year-old woman from Oldham County; and an 88-year-old woman from Scott County.
Health Commissioner Steven Stack kept imploring Kentuckians to follow public-health guidelines that he said are having a positive impact, saying in the release that even though Kentucky is on an “elevated four-week plateau . . . we remain in a difficult place, and Kentucky could quickly begin a rapid escalation.”
Stack, a physician, joined Beshear in putting gentle heat on school leaders and other local officials: “These are difficult times without simple solutions. Through their actions, local leaders have an obligation to keep the virus under control to reduce the risk of medical harm to their students, staff, and larger communities.”
He added basic reminders: “Please, socially distance greater than six feet. Wear a mask at all times when in public and around others. Wash your hands often. Check for signs of infection and get tested if ill. Cooperate with contact tracing if you are called. If we do these things, we can contain the coronavirus and get back to more of the activities we miss.”
In other covid-19 news Sunday:
  • Jefferson County had nearly one-third of the new coronavirus cases Sunday, with 152. Other counties with more than 10 new cases in the daily report were Fayette, 76; Madison, 29; Kenton, 20; Calloway, 11; and Marion, 10.
  • Conflicting orders have left unclear who is and who isn’t protected from eviction in Kentucky, Matt Mencarini reports for the Louisville Courier Journal. Cathy Hinko, head of the Metropolitan Housing Coalition, told him, “Now we’re down to this arm-wrestling between sheriffs and the court system and the governor. . . . The lack of clarity in the face of a pandemic maelstrom of displacement is beyond comprehension.” Beshear said at his Thursday briefing that he will make an announcement Monday about an agreement to settle a Northern Kentucky eviction lawsuit and funnel some CARES Act money to landlords. Chris Otts of WDRB also reports on the issue.
  • The University of Louisville will require its students to be tested for the coronavirus, after initially only encouraging them to do so, Sarah Ladd reports for the Courier Journal. Free testing will begin Monday and tests must be taken between Aug. 24 and Sept. 4. Failure to comply may lead to “disciplinary action if necessary,” U of L said.
  • Chris Kenning of the Courier Journal tells the story of a hospital chaplain and the entries from a journal he has kept since the start of the pandemic: “His journal, alternating in tone between the brevity and stoicism of a sea captain’s log about a gale to passages of emotional storytelling, is filled with instances of front-line health workers scrambling bravely amid the dangers and chaos of life-and-death emergencies.”
  • Six positive coroanavirus tests have been confirmed at the Eastern Kentucky Veterans Center, a nursing home in Hazard, among one employee and five veterans, Evan Hatter reports for WYMT-TV.
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